Patria: An Expert by Transferring its Technology to Local Markets

Patria, one of the leading manufacturers of Armoured Wheeled vehicles and mortar systems, is focusing strongly on internationalization and growth recently. Within this scope Patria has received s

Date: Issue 18 - October 2009

1. First of all I congratulate you Mr Heikki Allonen in your mission as President and CEO of Patria. Could you please inform us about Patria’s latest developments?

Patria encountered the year 2009 with a new organisation to even better correspond to the abrupt changes in our business environment.

The launch of Millog Oy at the beginning of 2009 was significant as the seven depots from the Finnish Defence Forces were integrated into Millog, and thus as part of Patria.
This comprehensive partnership in the maintenance of the Army’s equipment is a challenging task and a unique concept and has started remarkably well. Moreover, it has raised international interest.

Patria’s strategy of fine-tuning on expanding its service operations to match the needs of the Finnish Defence Forces continued and its role as a service provider was enhanced during the past year. By this we mean own, distinct product development and the readiness to commit ourselves to building, servicing and developing systems which the customer has acquired abroad from the projects’ earliest stages onwards.

In the international arena Patria experienced continued export successes of the Patria AMV vehicle and Patria Nemo mortar systems. Croatia and Sweden placed important orders on the AMV vehicle and Nemo Navy was ordered by the United Arab Emirates. In international crisis management operations in Afghanistan and Chad Patria AMVs have impressed greatly for their excellent protection of the crew and nimble manoeuvrability in very tough conditions.
Also Slovenia received the first 13 Patria AMVs in June. The Swedish tender may be rearranged after a complaint from the losing supplier. As the case was built on claimed process issues and not the competence of our vehicle, we will be a very tough act to beat.

Further developing Patria’s business operations has also resulted into a revised ethical Code of Conduct which every Patria employee has been educated to understand and follow. Patria as member of the The Association of Finnish Defence and Aerospace Industries, signed a global agreement on business ethics, the “Joint Statement of Adherence,” at a convention held in October in Helsinki. The agreement steers industry practices and corresponds very well to the requirements which arise daily from societal debates, specifying that all walks of
life should adhere to shared ground rules.

Within Land & Armament deployment of the new organisation continued and new agreements were signed on the export markets, as described above.

Within Aviation Patria received a serial order for upgrades of the Finnish Air Force’s Hawk jet trainers and delivered the first upgraded jet trainer to the customer already in June at the Paris Air Show. A unique concept and interesting development took place as Patria started international cooperation in the vocational training of civil aviation pilots in the summer.

Within Systems and Services, an important positive step was taken as Patria became part
of the Finnish Defence Force’s air defence missile system and surveillance system projects. This further enhances Patria’s expertise of these systems and our position as the preferred partner to the Finnish Defence Forces and security authorities.

Nammo, jointly owned by Patria and the Kingdom of Norway, produced yet again a handsome result for us and an all-time-high to the company itself. This was a good way to celebrate the ten years of industrial development from national operators to an international ammunition and rocket propellant company.

2. In terms of production, investment, export and international projects, how could you evaluate the figures in 2009?

Being new to this business, I should probably not draw too hasty conclusions. However, for all of us this past year has been a year of constant change. There are surprisingly many projects around and yet we need to remember that processes that are started now will bear fruit in terms of production only after a year or two. My general feeling is that the financial downturn will result in quite notable budget cuts in some markets and therefore the level of activity will be lower during the next years. I must admit though that this is only natural as quite a few nations are struggling to get their budgets together and need to spend capital on reviving their economies. The defence market will be back in a few years, I’m sure.

3. What are your goals and strategies for 2010?

Patria will continue serving in Finland its strategic partner, the Finnish Defence Forces, and abroad the international markets. We constantly develop our organisation to even better fit the needs of our customers and operating environment. Patria’ s business is focused on armoured wheeled vehicles, mortar systems and ammunition products as well as their through-life services (commercial & international), services for military aircraft and helicopters and command and control systems(national core). Strengthening some businesses, streamlining the others as well as growing our international operations will continue.

A characteristic way for Patria to do business is networking through a large number of sub suppliers, local and international partners, universities and technology institutes. Patria will continue focusing on strategic partnerships and will further develop its capabilities to offer systematic lifecycle services that allow customers to focus on their own core business.

The next few years will be challenging, but we are constantly in the lookout for new business opportunities. We have not seen all impacts of the current depression at Patria yet. Universally, the current economic situation has been estimated to recover step by step as of this fall. This gives hope for a better development in the longer term. In order to prevail, Patria must be able to adjust to changes in its business environment quickly and to correct its course whenever necessary. Measures to this are under work.

4- It is known that Patria AMV is one of the few wheeled vehicles in the world capable of carrying heavy weapon systems. Could you please inform us about the technical capabilities of Patria AMV Armoured Modular Vehicles and new technological developments?

When introduced to the markets the Patria AMV set the “crossbar” to new heights what comes to the general requirements for armored wheeled vehicles (AWVs). The most significant was however the level of mobility of a modern 8x8 armored wheeled vehicle set by the AMV. Patria AMV can be seen as catalyst for the entire industry in their R&D works, we have lately seen some major improvements in the product portfolio of companies operating in the field of armored wheeled vehicles. Naturally Patria is constantly investing in it own R&D to keep up position in fierce competition.

Patria AMV is fully NATO-compatible vehicle offering superior mobility, effective modular protection as well as more firepower due to its high payload capacity. Even very large weapon systems like 105 mm MGS or 120 mm Patria Nemo® - mortar as well as120 mm AMOS- mortar system can be easily integrated into AMV, without compromising the high level of mobility or protection.

5- Patria AMV’s have already been in Finland and other Army’s inventory and you have received high amount orders. Patria AMV has taken achievements in various countiries. Could you please inform us about your international marketing strategy, international activities and how you could reach your goals in these markets? What is your assessment about the current position of Patria AMV among the competitors on international platforms?

The vehicle has shown exceptional performance and success in international AWV vehicle programs like Poland, South Africa, Croatia, the United Arab Emirates to name a few. Currently the number of ordered AMVs is exceeding 1400 units. Patria AMV has been excelling in international field tests in; Finland, United States, Brazil, South Africa, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Slovenia, Malaysia and Croatia. It is also the one of a kind having passed the demanding South-African mine tests. The AMVs or “Rosomaks” as they are called in Polish have been fielded in both Afghanistan and Chad operations by the Polish Army. The “Rosomaks” are combat proven – in Afghanistan where they have been since summer 2007 and the experiences have been very positive despite several RPG- / IED- / mine attacks against them during the past 24 months.

In international AWV markets Patria AMV’s position is very strong – totally more than 1400 modern 8x8 vehicles ordered is a track record that none of the other manufactures can currently match. There are significant numbers of 8x8 AWVs sold by our competitors but they are different (older) generation than AMV. We currently see new EU- and NATO-countries as well as Arabian Peninsula as interesting markets not forgetting the US where we are working together with our American partner Locheed-Martin.

6. Could you please inform us about your activities, programmes and projects carried out by Patria in Turkey? Could you please elaborate on objectives regarding Turkey? Is manufacturing a customized Patria AMV to meet the requirements of Turkey within Patria’s agenda?

Could Turkey due to her geopolitical location be considered as a team player in Patria’s marketing activities regarding the regions around Turkey?

Patria has worked during the last 5 years with Hema Industri AS in Turkey. Hema Industri AS is one of the leading engineering manufacture company in Turkey – supplying components to automotive, agricultural and construction equipment OEM’s with additional divisions serving the mining, aviation and defense industries. Patria has presented its AMV 8x8 vehicle twice in Turkey during the IDEX exhibitions.

Patria has followed closely the Wheeled Armored Vehicle projects in Turkey by promoting the AMV vehicle. Patria has marketed AMV 8 x 8 due to its superior payload which allows simultaneously having larger caliber weapon systems, ammunition load and a high mine and ballistic protection levels. Patria AMV can also be used as anti-aircraft missile platform. Patria is constantly looking for possibilities to work closely with the customer to tailor for them the optimal solutions.

The whole Patria AMV concept is based on modular structure: the vehicle can easily be tailored to special variants like Command unit, Ambulance, Repair and Recovery, NBC, Swimming capable and so on. Every customer chooses typically its own radio and intercom systems as well as the Battle Field Management Systems. So, the unit is always built to the customer‘s special needs.

Patria has also supplied information package to MoD in Turkey for the Heavy Mine Breaching Vehicle. Patria has modified Leopard 2 tanks for mine clearing by installing a special designed heavy duty mine plough and modifying the turret. The feedback from customers has been extremely positive on this combination where the base platform has adequate weight and power as well as the mine plow can easily be replaced by some other tools in the future, like excavator arms with various tools.

Patria sees Turkey as a very important country due to several reasons. Patria has recognized the possibility to use local Turkish partners for local manufacturing as well as to provide the ILS services for the end customer. Turkey has a well developed industry to support this.